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Asset managers in Singapore support work from home option

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Singapore's asset management industry is open to flexible work arrangements even after the government removes restrictions on working from offices.

[SINGAPORE] Singapore's asset management industry is open to flexible work arrangements even after the government removes restrictions on working from offices.

A survey by the Investment Management Association of Singapore found that half of the 50 respondents will offer most employees the option to work from home whenever they want, even after telecommuting is no longer prescribed by the government. Chief executive officers were more in favour of remote-working arrangements, while investment team heads were more reluctant given the lack of interaction with colleagues, according to the survey carried out in June.

The coronavirus pandemic has accelerated tech adoption at firms globally, allowing a growing number of firms to overhaul their rules and maintain remote-working arrangements even after lockdowns have been lifted. BlackRock Inc, the world's largest asset manager, is allowing employees across the world to work remotely for the remainder of 2020, while Schroders will allow thousands of staff to work from home permanently, according to a report in the Telegraph.

The pandemic has prompted a shift to using video conferencing and chat apps for communication and allowed investment teams to access risk management systems from home, said Rajeev De Mello, chair of the IMAS Development Committee. However, interaction with team members is more important to investment teams than the business side, he said.

"When some news comes in, you want to have a broad range of views and opinions that's less free flowing on chats and more seamless in a desk setting," he added.

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While Singapore lifted its nationwide lockdown in June, the government is maintaining its stance on a return to office only for necessary roles. Earlier this month, authorities said they are reviewing the requirement following feedback. The city-state's funds industry managed S$3.4 trillion (US$2.5 trillion) at the end of 2018.

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